AutoNation (NYSE: AN) reported earnings on Jan. 31. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), AutoNation beat expectations on revenues and beat expectations on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue grew and GAAP earnings per share expanded significantly.

Gross margins dropped, operating margins increased, net margins grew.

Revenue details
AutoNation recorded revenue of $4.17 billion. The 11 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected sales of $3.98 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 13% higher than the prior-year quarter's $3.68 billion.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.67. The 14 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ forecast $0.64 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.67 for Q4 were 37% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.49 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 15.2%, 50 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 4.0%, 20 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 2.0%, 10 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $3.96 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.64.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $16.66 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.88.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a two-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 168 members out of 231 rating the stock outperform, and 63 members rating it underperform. Among 71 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 58 give AutoNation a green thumbs-up, and 13 give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on AutoNation is hold, with an average price target of $40.10.

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